This recipe for Polish buttermilk crumb cake or placek na maślance z kruszonka (PLAHT-sek mahsh-LAHN-tseh z krroo-SHOHN-kah) is from my cousin Krystyna Filipiak who lives in Turek, Poland.
It's a simple coffee cake that has buttermilk in the batter and is topped with fresh fruit of choice (I like tart cherries) and sweet crumbs or streusel. A streusel is simply a crumbly topping made by combining flour, sugar, butter, and sometimes spices like cinnamon (although not in this recipe) until crumbly. It is then sprinkled on coffee cakes, breads, muffins and cakes. The word streusel is German for "to sprinkle" or to "strew."
Krystyna says even a beginner cook can make this dessert and she's right. For variety, Krystyna sometimes spreads two cans of poppy seed filling on top of the fruit followed by the crumb topping.
Here's a larger photo of Polish Buttermilk Cake.
- 2 large room-temperature eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup room-temperature buttermilk
- 1/2 cup oil
- 3 cupsCake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 quarts fresh fruit like pitted cherries, berries or apple slices
- Crumb Topping:
- 1 1/4 cupsAll-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 ounces (1 stick) cold butter, cut into pieces
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x9-inch pan. In a large bowl, beat 2 large room-temperature eggs, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup room-temperature buttermilk, and 1/2 cup oil until well combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together 3 cups cake flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir into egg mixture, combining thoroughly. Spread into prepared pan and top with fresh fruit of choice.
In a medium bowl, mix 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup sugar together. Cut in 4 ounces cold butter pieces as for pie dough until crumbs form. Scatter crumbs over fruit. Bake about 40 minutes or until cake is baked and crumbs are golden.
The Importance of Coffee Cakes in Eastern European Entertaining
One of the prime rules of entertaining etiquette in Eastern Europe is not to turn away expected or unexpected guests, for that matter, without offering them coffee, tea, vodka or brandy and some type of cake, if not a full meal or sandwich.
That's why most housewives made a simple coffee cake everyday or every other day to have on hand in case someone dropped by. These coffee cakes stayed moist or could be quickly reheated to bring them back to just-baked perfection.
Here are 16 Eastern European Coffee Cake Recipes that would do any hostess proud.